Writing a “Good” Story
Writing is easy. You can write a single letter, a number, a word, a sentence, anything. You can write books or a jumble of random words, a page or sixty-three. But making a story is where it becomes difficult.
Planning or outlining doesn’t work for everyone. If it does help you, here are some ways to do so. If it doesn’t, then you’re like me.
1) CHAPTERS: From the prologue and/or chapter one, mark out what will happen per chapter. This allows as much or as little detail as you’d like. It also keeps everything on track in a straight-forward plan.
2) PLOT POINTS: Major plot points to graph out where the story will go. Whether you determine these points by chapter, character, etc. doesn’t matter. This way grants more room for change, since there doesn’t need to be a lot of detail for what happens between the major points.
3) CHARACTER DEVELOPEMENT: The storyline will follow the character and how they develope. How the character acts determines how the story reacts. Plan a great character and their tale will follow along.
4) SUCCESS/FAILURE OF CHARACTER: Success and failure, pro, con, or antagonist, greatly affects a story. It forces the writer to ask how does the character(s) react, who is affected by the choice, where does this take them, what happens to the who/where, what measures will character(s) take to fix/break the choice that’s already made?
5) STORYLINE: Make a vague or detailed storyline, getting all your ideas written down allows as much change that is needed. It graphs out the overall plan, determines what type of characters are needed, and more.
6) EVERYTHING: Full details. Nothing is held back. The rough draft of the rough draft. Whether it’s a jumble of ideas, whether it lines up or not, that doesn’t matter. Just write it down, see where it goes, edit later.
7) WING IT: No set outline. Keep the ideas mentally and vague. Write it down, edit (minorly) as you go along. Change what needs to be changed, come up with characters when they’re needed.
Now that you have some sort of story idea, regardless of how detailed it is, or you’re just bored, time to find some character names.
1) SYMBOLISM: Find something that symbolizes the character. If possible, look up on “names that mean [insert symbol],”
Ex. “Names that mean night,” after reading some names, I stumbled upon Lilith, which means “belonging to the night.”
2) TIME-ZONE: Find time-zone specific names. Search up, “Popular [insert year/era] names.”
3) UNIQUE: For unique names, add your own twist to current names. Change the spelling or add onto/subtract from the name.
Ex. Lilith goes to Lylith. Can also be subtracted down to Lyth.
4) CULTURAL: Find a name that fits the character’s culture. Don’t forget to do your research.
5) RANDOM: Just find a random name you like.
Characters (Pro, Con, Antagonists, Love/Hate Interest and/or Side)
1) Who/what are they?
2) Who/what is their goal/destiny?
3) Who/what is stopping them?
4) Who/what are they stopping?
5) How do they succeed or fail?
6) Why should the story be about them?
7) Speaking patterns?
8) Personality? (Good, bad, both or none?)
9) Behavior? (Actions, reactions and interactions.)
1) Open your app, website, notebook and get ready. Grab a pen, pencil, get ready to type. Get yourself a drink, find a comfy spot.
2) Write the story that is trapped inside your head.